Incompatibility, lack of commitment, conflicts and arguments are some of the most common causes for divorce; but there is another one that is proving to be a bane in the ‘happily ever after’ concept of marriage.
With the world hooked on to social media, it is not surprising that it is increasingly listed as one of the causes. Sociologists believe excessive social media usage is responsible for infidelity, conflicts and jealousy, leading to divorce, which has been further corroborated by studies suggesting that it has spawned one in seven divorces in recent years.
One in 7!
Data also suggests that the ratio corresponds with the number of people stalking their partners online to check if he/she has been unfaithful. And, for obvious reasons, social media has also been cited as the trigger for arguments between one in every five couples.
While there are no local statistics to demonstrate the connection between social media and divorces in Oman, few authorities have raised concern about the growing number of divorces in the country, factoring in social media as a major reason.
Dr Krishna Prasad, Specialist Psychiatrist at Badr Al Samaa (Al Khoud), agrees that social media does have a role to play in triggering divorces. “Studies have shown that those who do not use social media in their marriage are happier than those who do,” he states, blaming it also for downgrading quality time spent with family.
Dr. Krishna Prasad
Specialist Psychiatrist, Badr Al Samaa Hospital, Al Khoud
He strongly advices judicious use of social media, so as to curb marital discord and reduce the number of divorce cases.
Oman’s official statistics, dating 2021, shows that an average of 16 divorce cases were filed per day in the country, totaling 6,000 cases during the course of the year. What is staggering is that the number grew by 75 percent from the previous year.
Besides, the number of divorce certificates issued in 2020 reached 3,426, which was also an increase of almost 50 percent, compared to 2019. This sudden leap in numbers has been attributed to the pandemic, which led to economic slowdown and triggered a host of everyday problems brought on by the lockdown.
Whether pandemic spurred a rise in the number of divorce cases in Oman has not been quantified, however, as Dr. Prasad notes, general clinical experience shows an increasing trend towards divorces. “Ideally a formal study is required to see the actual numbers,” he suggests.
Post Covid, the world witnessed a wave of social change spurred on by social media interactions and the increasing addiction to various app based entertainment avenues – easy triggers for marital conflicts, endless arguments, infidelity… “Lack of employment, increased use of psychoactive substances, plus too much time spent together…turned minor annoyances into major problems,” opines Dr. Prasad.
With the world gradually returning back to normalcy, the triggers for marital discord have shifted. According to him, some of the common grounds for seeking divorce today are, “Personal issues like poor anger control, increased substance use, excessive use of gadgets and incompatibility of personalities, alongside social issues like poor communications inter-personal relationships, job stress and financial burden owing to illness, poor money management, etc.”
He lists the following red flags for marital discord:
- Lack of quality time spent together
- Lack of intimacy
- Sexual incompatibility
- Uneven division of chores at home
- Drug or alcohol problems, etc
And, to overcome those triggers and strengthen relationships, he suggests the following:
- Improve quality time
- Complement each other
- Respect your partner
- Respect each one’s private space
- Inculcate financial discipline
- Share money related issues
- Make date nights at least twice in a month
- Reduce social media
- Maintain healthy life style like regular exercise, sleep hygiene, control over use of substance…
- Share household chores
“The list can be endless…,” he concludes.
Added to that list is ‘moderation’ while using social media; it is the key to ensure life in the marital lane is trouble free. Moderation is essential, more so when catching up with former partners or even while sharing information on social media.